International and China Tourism Academy released the Annual Report on China’s Outbound Tourism (2016), stating that China’s outbound tourism has entered into a period of rational increase and will continue growing steadily in the next five to ten years. The Report notes that UnionPay cards are providing payment support for Chinese people’s travel abroad.
The increase of outbound tourists slowing down while Thailand and Japan became popular.
Chinese outbound tourists reached 117 million in 2015, growing by 9.8%, which is much lower than the 20% year-on-year growth in previous years. The Report, however, is positive about China’s outbound tourism, expecting the tourists to reach 133 million in 2016 with an 11.5% increase.
Better visa policies and easier payment are two major factors that promoted outbound tourism. UnionPay cards are accepted at 35 million merchants and over 2 million ATMs in 160 countries and regions.
Most tourists chose short-distance destinations last year, and over 70% of tourists travelled to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. As for destinations outside China, the top 10 are Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, the US, Singapore, Russia, Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia. Thailand and Japan saw an 88% increase in Chinese tourists. In the future, East Europe, South America and Central Asia are expected to gain popularity.
Almost all ATMs and about 90% merchants in Thailand, over half of ATMs and about 500,000 merchants in Japan, almost all ATMs and over 80% merchants in the US, and all ATMs and over 80% merchants in Singapore accept UnionPay cards.
From “going on shopping sprees” to “enjoying the local life”
Chinese outbound tourists spent 1.045 trillion US dollars in 2015, growing by 16.6%. The spending per capita was 893 USD, showing a slower increase. Chinese tourists’ aim of traveling abroad is changing from sightseeing, to shopping, and now to enjoying the local life.
Shopping, tour groups, catering and attraction tickets are their major spending items. 85.9% of the tourists chose shopping as their major spending item.
Hotels, restaurants, supermarkets, and more cultural and entertainment establishments in major destinations accept UnionPay cards. Taxis in Australia, South Korea and Singapore also support UnionPay.
65% of independent travelers booked airline tickets, 56.5% booked hotels, and 57.7% arranged their trips online. Over 10 million online merchants outside mainland China accept UnionPay cards, and UnionPay cross-border online transaction volume almost tripled in 2015.